Report calls for action to prevent further rail fare rises

00:05 04 January 2013

Commuters faced above-inflation fare rises. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Commuters faced above-inflation fare rises. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The government has been urged to abandon plans that could see rail commuters hit by even higher fares, according to a group of MPs.

Ministers should also set out a long-term policy on annual season ticket fare rises, the report by the House of Commons Transport Committee says.

Chairman Louise Ellman said that it was vital that the public knew more about how public money was spent on the railways “so that there is confidence it does not leak out of the system in the form of unjustified profits”.

The committee’s report on the railways comes just two days after inflation-busting average rises of 4.2 per cent for regulated fares, which include season tickets, took effect for passengers.

Following Sir Roy McNulty’s report into rail costs, the Government is currently looking at a variety of measures.

These include possibly managing peak-time demand by increasing fares for those wanting to travel when the rush hour is at its height.

The committee’s report said today: “We recommend that the Government rule out forms of demand management which would lead to even higher fares for commuters on peak-time trains”.

The MPs said many lower-paid workers had no choice but to travel at peak times.

The report went on: “Higher prices at peak times might make a difference to demand at the margin but would for the most part be a tax on commuters who have no effective choice over how or when they travel.”

This year’s regulated fare rise would have been even higher had the Government not pulled back from the original plan of an RPI-inflation-plus-three per cent rise in favour of a formula which limited the increase to RP1 plus one per cent.

The committee said it welcomed the decision not to proceed with RPI plus 3% but MPs were “concerned about where that leaves the Government’s fares policy, especially at a time when it is attempting to reduce the cost of rail to the taxpayer”.

The committee’s report comes after the DfT has been embroiled in the West Coast franchise fiasco which has led to a highly-critical independent report into the way the department handled the bids for a new franchise for the line.

Another independent report into the whole question of franchise handling is due to be published soon.

In its report today the committee said: “The collapse of the West Coast franchise competition has raised serious doubts about the DfT’s capability to manage major procurements as well as about its internal organisation and governance.

“Confidence in the DfT has been badly shaken. Ministers, current and former, as well as senior officials, have many questions to answer about this debacle.

“We will be asking these questions, and expecting clear answers, in the weeks to come before reaching our conclusions on this matter.”

Latest London transportation news

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
(Photo: Sunil060902)

Lambeth North Underground station, on the Bakerloo Line, is to be closed from July 2016 to mid-February 2017 due to lift repair work.

Monday, June 13, 2016
Do you recognise this man? (Picture: BTP)

Five defibrillators - emergency machines used to keep someoone alive if they suffer a heart attack - have been stolen from train stations across the capital and police are on the hunt for the culprit.

Friday, June 10, 2016
The scene of the accident in Finchley Road

A female cyclist was taken to hospital with injuries after a collision with a lorry in Finchley Road yesterday afternoon.

Thursday, June 9, 2016
Your commute is about to get a little bit easier... (Picture: PA Images)

London commuters can now get live travel alerts about severe delays on the Tube network because Transport for London (TfL) have joined forces with social media giant Twitter.

Monday, June 6, 2016
The collision happened at the junction of the Strand and Arundel Street (Photo: Google StreetView)

A cyclist has died in hospital after he was critically injured in a collision with a bus.

Monday, June 6, 2016
An increased number of BTP officers will watch over the Eurostar as fans begin to travel to France for the Euros, which begin Friday (Picture: PA Images)

Police presence is being beefed up at the St Pancras International Eurostar terminal during Euro 2016 in an attempt to stop ‘known troublemakers’ travelling, British Transport Police (BTP) said today.

Don't Miss...

Competitions

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Read more
Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport